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Art in Healthcare

In 2020 and 2021 we supported Art in Healthcare, along with 15 other projects affected by the COVID-19 crisis, to evaluate and learn about their response to the crisis.

The aim of this support was to strengthen their response and their recovery, by improving what they do or guiding future plans and strategies. This work was supported by the National Lottery Community Fund.

Room for Art is a visual art and social prescribing project run by Art in Healthcare. The project provides visual arts workshops, facilitated by professional artists, with the aim of improving people’s health and wellbeing.

During the Covid-19 crisis Art in Healthcare ran this programme online, they also introduced Art Therapy, a new service offering more intensive help for the individuals they support.

Art Therapy combines image making and psychotherapy to aid awareness, individual growth and address emotional issues that may be distressing or confusing.

This involved a blend of group sessions and one-to-ones.

As they had introduced a new element to their service, Art in Healthcare specifically wanted to learn:

• What difference has Art Therapy made? How does this differ from the Room for Art sessions?

• What should our service model look like in the future?

Through their observations and reflections, they found that Art Therapy helped people in a slightly different way to Room for Art:

Through shared experience and expression, participants of Art Therapy build deeper social connections, hope for the future and a sense of community.

They asked participants for feedback using a postal form by sending a drawing that reflected their experience of the therapy. The drawings gave a rich sense of Art in Healthcare’s impact.

Participants explained it had been important and useful to have dedicated time and space to explore how they were feeling or coping – many had found this hard to find elsewhere in their lives.

  • Room for Art helps participants develop art techniques based on their interests, helps reduce stress and provides opportunities to socialise.
  • Art Therapy helps people to express themselves emotionally through art, feel valued and listened to, as well as develop deeper connections with others.

Planning future service delivery – “This learning has helped us to shape future service delivery, we have shared our learning with the board and we are completing funding applications so we can continue offering Art Therapy in addition to Room for Art.”

Developing new partnerships: “We are really trusted by our participants and have learnt more about their lives. It is important for us to connect more with other services that can offer support that we can’t.”

  • It’s not research – don’t overcomplicate it, gather too much or try to answer too many questions.”
  • Don’t do it all yourself! We’re now building in structures so all involved can feed into evaluation.”
  • Don’t rely on your memory – we are really good at continually reflecting and observing work but conversations and discussions aren’t always recorded.”

This Evaluation Story is based on the case study:

  • Crisis to recovery: Art in Healthcare

    Room for Art is visual art and social prescribing project run by Art in Healthcare providing visual arts workshops facilitated by professional artists with the aim of improving people’s health and wellbeing.